Family of man who drowned in Richmond Park Pool seeking more answers

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - The family of a man who drowned Tuesday morning in the Richmond Park Pool is saying that their son was a good swimmer and details of his death aren't adding up.

The family of Damon Phillips tells FOX 17 that he was a good swimmer.  Phillips and two others apparently jumped the fence into the pool area early Tuesday morning.  Phillips ended up in the pool and the two others went knocking on neighborhood doors for help.  Emergency crews pulled Phillips from the pool, but he was pronounced dead a short time later at the hospital.

“My heart hurts right now, I’m devastated," said Terrie Phillips, Damon's mother through tears. “I wouldn’t wish this on no mother.”

Two men police said were accompanying Phillips that morning were questioned and released. There are no cameras at Richmond Park, according to the Grand Rapids Parks Department.

Grand Rapids Police say they aren't specifically investigating the drowning as anything but an accident for now, but add that anything is possible and they are investigating the case from every possible angle.  Autopsy results are still pending.

Phillips' family tells FOX 17 that he was attending Grand Rapids Community College and studying video game design.

“We send our kids to school not wanting something like this to happen - this could happen to any mother out here in Michigan," said Terrie Phillips. “Something happened to my baby… something happened to my child.”

Police haven't explicitly ruled out foul play in the death, but also have not confirmed it.

We'll have more details when they become available.

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5 comments

  • Mel B

    My heart breaks for the family….doesn’t anyone else think it’s strange? If he was a good swimmer, he’s not going to drown in a pool. Maybe a lake, sure. (Unless of course he was so intoxicated that he couldn’t move.) So that leads me to believe there WAS foul play. I mean, what exactly were the other friends doing? Could they not jump in to save him? Did they try? How hard is it to swim to the shallow end? I would jump in immediately, no question. Who leaves someone drowning to “go get help” in this situation. And then, one of them can’t be found? Come on….the whole thing is ridiculous. Makes zero sense at all. They know more than they are saying. GUARANTEED. I will be following and hope to see some resolution to this. Prayers for the family of this promising young man.

  • steve

    First, the news said he couldn’t swim. Then, his parents said he was a good swimmer. Now, he’s back as unable to swim. I wonder if the GRPD knows. If they did, it probably would help them figure out what happened.

  • Shiloh's Mom

    How about looking for answers as to why those boys ILLEGALLY climbed a fence and TRESPASSED in a CLOSED public pool at 6:00 a.m. in the morning? If they hadn’t used very poor judgment and committed a crime, this never would have happened. Why does everyone want to overlook personal responsibility?